Daytime Reception Food Ideas

By Amy Cabaniss with Julep’s New Southern Cuisine

Gone are the days of the “traditional” wedding. These days, couples are changing up the game with their big days, such as choosing to have a daytime wedding ceremony and reception. Which begs the question…what do you serve at a reception that is taking place earlier in the day?

Amy Cabaniss Julep's New Southern Cuisine Richmond Wedding reception earlier

Emily Bartell Photography

The good news is that just like all other facets of the wedding, there are options! The first thing you will
want to identify is not unique to an evening wedding: what kind of vibe do you want your reception to have? Do you want guests to be served, serve themselves, dine family-style with passed plates, or enjoy
mini bites over a cocktail hour type environment?

Next, determine if you want the food to have a theme or specific style such as traditional Italian, southern cuisine, barbecue, etc.

Depending on the time of the reception, some guests may not be ready for a full, large meal. One great option for early afternoon weddings are finger foods and/or passed hors d’oeuvres alongside beverages or cocktails. Some food ideas include kabobs, bruschetta, specialty cheeses, and deviled eggs. Consider small plates of crab cakes, oysters, and shrimp if you’re a seafood lover. Don’t forget the dessert – macaroons, cream puffs, and cookies will really leave guests feeling satisfied. Check with your caterer on staffing availability if you choose to have passed hors d’oeuvres.

For those hosting a wedding earlier in the afternoon, a brunch-style meal is a unique concept and will allow for tons of food types, such as waffle, pancake or omelet stations, mini quiches, and a mimosa bar. Add fresh fruits, jams, and syrups for those who have a “sweet tooth” or are craving dessert. We can really see this being popular if your wedding is in Richmond because everyone knows that RVA loves their brunch!

Regardless of what (and when) you serve your guests, they are sure to have a lovely, memorable time on your big day. Just be sure to make your plan clear on the invites and other wedding communication so guests know what to expect for their appetite!

Julep’s New Southern Cuisine is one of Richmond’s top upscale restaurants, offering quality service, creative and seasonal cocktails made with local ingredients, and Southern dishes inspired by Atlanta, Charleston, New Orleans, and Savannah cuisine. Julep’s is great for private parties, celebrations and rehearsal dinners. Learn more at